A photo of the Block Island Wind Farm's turbine with a US flag visible on the right

North Carolina Sets 8 GW by 2040 Offshore Wind Target

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has issued an executive order calling for the development of 2.8 GW of offshore wind power by 2030, and 8 GW by 2040.

Illustration; Block Island Wind Farm; Photo source: CRMC (archive)

The executive order highlights the economic and environmental benefits of offshore wind and directs actions to help North Carolina secure the jobs and economic development associated with the industry’s estimated USD 140 billion investment over the next 15 years to develop projects from North Carolina up the Atlantic Coast.

”Offshore wind power will help North Carolina create jobs and generate economic development while helping us transition to a clean energy economy,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.

”North Carolina’s national leadership in clean energy and manufacturing plus our highly trained workforce create a strong business environment for offshore wind supply chain and manufacturing companies.”

The executive order directs the North Carolina Department of Commerce to name a clean energy economic development coordinator and establish the North Carolina Taskforce for Offshore Wind Economic Resource Strategies (NC TOWERS).

The order also directs the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality and the North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to designate offshore wind coordinators and take steps to support offshore wind. It directs quarterly meetings of the North Carolina Offshore Wind Interagency Workgroup to ensure offshore wind activities are well coordinated among leadership in relevant agencies.

”This coordinated approach to developing our offshore wind supply chain will bring new jobs to North Carolina for generations to come,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders.

”From building out the supply chain, to installing equipment, to operating the wind facilities, North Carolina’s manufacturers and workforce are well positioned to play an integral role in the entire East Coast market, not just for projects directly off the state’s coast.”

This executive order follows a bipartisan memorandum of understanding among the governors of North Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia in October 2020 that created the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional Transformative Partnership for Offshore Wind Energy Resources (SMART-POWER).

The SMART-POWER MOU provides a framework for the three states to cooperatively promote, develop and expand offshore wind energy and the accompanying industry supply chain and workforce.

With this announcement, the US states’ commitments to offshore wind power generation total 40 GW, stretching from the Carolinas to the Gulf of Maine.

Earlier this year, the Biden Administration set a national goal of installing 30 GW of offshore wind generation by 2030, and has taken actions to achieve that goal including opening the Gulf of Mexico and West Coast to development as well as giving final approval to Vineyard Wind, the first commercial-scale wind project in US waters.

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The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management also recently revealed it is working to prepare two more wind energy areas for lease off the Carolina coast.